Photo by QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE
Australia’s drug squad recently experienced their largest interception after discovering 10,100 growing and mature cannabis plants in a grow-op on a rural property. The estimated value of the crops is worth a whopping $23 million (AU$25 million).
The officer in charge of the bust, Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Parsons, noted in a statement from the Queensland Police Service that these kinds of illegal grow ops are a perfect example of the lengths organized crime can go. The earnings made from these illicit grow-ops will then be used “to fund further criminal activity.”
We should note that adult cannabis use in Australia is not federally legal. That said, regions like Australia’s capital Canberra have cannabis legalized for recreational use to those over the age of 18. They’re legally allowed to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis, use it in their private residence, and grow up to two plants per person.
Last week, local partners and detectives presented a search warrant at the Churchable property to increase the current operation to target cannabis production, distribution, and trafficking in the Darling Downs region. Officers discovered the biggest illegal grow-op yet at the property, alongside a “large quantify” of hydroponic equipment.
Photo by theaustralian
Each of the four men whose age ranges from 37 to 48 has all been charged with one count of producing dangerous drugs and one count of possessing property used in the commission of a crime. In the police statement, Parsons explained that although many organized crime groups aren’t aware of the threat they pose to the public, Australia’s drug squad will always have a higher level of response and is “dedicated to crushing criminal activity.”
Although the drug squad made an enormous discovery last week, this isn’t the first time they’ve seized such a large quantity of cannabis. This past August, Australian police discovered roughly 50 kilograms of cannabis inside a vehicle, but confiscation was relatively easy since most of the country was under strict stay-at-home order from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, during the summer of 2020, police in New South Wales confiscated nearly $92 million (AU$100 million) worth of weed. It also happens that New South Wales is where more than a quarter of the country’s residents live, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to authorities.
An interesting takeaway from Australia’s perspective on cannabis was the results from a poll in the summer of 2020. The results found that more Australians than ever support federally legalizing cannabis at 41%, up from 2019’s vote at 37%.